Practice beheading chickens.

Mr Hen

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 28, 2012
31
2
34
Southern Missouri
Inevitably, I'm going to have to put one of my chickens down. From reading, it looks like cutting off the head is the most humane way. I would rather not have my first try go horribly wrong, so I figure I could get something from the butcher shop to practice on. What might be a good thing to get that is similar?
 

lokua

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
59
2
31
When I wanted to practice butchering and test my plucker I simply picked up a few cheap spent layers at a nearby livestock auction. Its easier if you aren't emotionally involved the first time. I bleed out birds for meat but beheading is fine too. The physical task is quite simple. You don't need a big dramatic swing, a short chop with a very sharp tool works fine and accuracy is easier.
 

Wrooster

Songster
8 Years
Apr 13, 2013
150
34
136
Northern Florida
You could slice up some hot dogs. Don't overlook the fact that you're going to have to get it into position long enough to do the deed. And afterward there will be a few awkward seconds. I have a large board on sawhorses and a bucket on the ground. I hold the bird's feet in my left hand, implement in my right, and don't let go of the feet until bleeding stops.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,234
19,967
857
Southeast Louisiana
What method are you planning on using? There are many different ways you could do it.

Loppers you use for pruning trees, hatchet or ax and chopping block, cone with a knife, or something else? Machete, butcher’s cleaver?

What you are using and the method would really help us give useful advice.
 

Mr Hen

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 28, 2012
31
2
34
Southern Missouri
I guess beheading wasn't really what I was thinking. I thought the easiest way was with one of those cones. You stick the head in there and hold it with one hand then slit the neck with the other. I think for one person to hold it down and chop it with an axe might be harder and more likely to fail.
 

GuppyTJ

Songster
7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
381
60
176
Kentucky
My Coop
My Coop
I don’t do it that way so I have no idea what you could practice on. I do wish you luck. Hard as it is for some people it is often the right thing to do.

Ridgerunner,

What method do you use? I had to mercy cull 2 of my chicks using the hatchet method (actually, I used the edge of a shovel) and it wasn't pleasant but it was very quick. Of course, they were very small and weak so there was no resistance or even much movement. I now have 10 remaining straight-run chicks that are about 5 weeks old and I expect to make the extra cockerals for the dinner table when they're around 18 to 20 weeks old (I think that's the age someone said was best). Do you have a method that works for you? I'm not looking forward to this but I want to be a good farmer so I want to try. If you have a method that you like, I could try yours. I was going to try to use the hatchet and chopping block method with my husband helping me hold the chicken... at least that's the plan. Course, like most things with me, problems with my plan usually reveal themselves when I actually try to implement them. How do you do it?

Guppy
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,234
19,967
857
Southeast Louisiana
I agree with Redsoxs. A hatchet is easier to control than an axe.

I’m right handed. I have some nails driven into a chopping block. I put the chicken’s neck in the slot formed by the nails. Hold the chicken’s legs with your left hand. Gently pull to snug it up. Swing the hatchet with your right hand. The target does not move.

How wide is the slot? How big are your chickens? I suggest driving the nails to form a V. One size fits all. Make the bottom maybe 3/4“ apart and the top maybe 1-1/2”. That should fit most chickens.

I suggest practice so you can hit the target, like Mr. Hen suggested. Just get used to handling the hatchet.
 

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